, September 13th, 2012 04:08
'World music' is a loaded term. Taken a certain way (late 80s Womad, say), it evokes dainty divisionism – 'world' encompassing pretty much anything that may fall outside the established rock & roll continuum. On the other hand it means music. Listening to Goat's debut LP ensures the title makes absolute sense: primal, pulsating sound that uncorks the elemental to miraculous effect. Goat draw fascinating dots between psych, krautrock, doom and disco. Imagine Amon Düül, Electric Wizard and Roy Ayers collaborating in a ganja-wreathed 70s summer Harlem brownstone on a lost soundtrack to a Kenneth Anger film. You won't be far off – hard driving analogue freak music, real hotness.
The product of one of the more curious – and very possibly spurious – back-stories of the past few years (band form in supposedly 'cursed' voodoo Swedish backwater of Korpilombolo, get well acquainted with the rhythmic arts) Goat are a band out of time. However, one gets the feeling that – much like Electric Wizard or Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, say – the outward 70s obsession is no mere kitsch dalliance but more a fertile layline connecting the vibe that keeps on giving to the present, and a heartfelt reflection of what genuinely turns these musicians on.
Indeed, the very fact that Goat have managed to reference the most readily identifiable audio outposts of 70s counterculture in one record without sounding camp, trite or silly is highly impressive. So it is that raw disco licks nestle against hard fuzz tones, plinking tablas and audacious sax solos are layered happily betwixt whacka guitars and echo-laden vocal chants. The overall effect is seedy, funky, simply life affirming: and if it plays this vital on a drizzly Sunday night, lord knows what it'll sound like outdoors with a belly full of Guinness and shrooms.
Instrumental opener 'Diarabi' has an admirably strong New Wave Of British Heavy Metal accent – the opening riff could (if sped up a little) comfortably fit with early Maiden or Angel Witch. The virtuoso pulse is though – as elsewhere - pure Can, staggered, drunken and swung. 'Goatman', meanwhile, is voodoo sex music, and powerfully infectious at that.
That a majority of the nine tracks here come in at under five minutes gives some indication as to Goat's hotheaded intent. 'Disco Fever' is mania, a clear incantation for elemental movement; 'Run To Your Mama' is a fevered two minutes of furious bongo-fuelled Sabbacana. The production value throughout is fittingly warm – no doubt the product of cranky, hotch-potch kit – but although vehemently analogue, this LP is by no means a lo-fi exercise. World Music has surely passed through the ears of a serious mastering engineer, sounding at points – the psych freak-out section in 'Goathead', for example – like it could comfortably go up against Death Magnetic in the loudness war stakes.
Goat has distilled what could have so very easily become an overblown meandering jam fest into a punchy, forceful and infectious masterpiece of cosmic rock & roll – the will is palpable, nigh a trace of fat on these bleached bones. Elemental fire music from the land of the midnight sun, pure incantations to ye gods of rock & roll. Watch out!